“I could tell you,” says Brian Cox, taking a sip of his iced matcha latte, “but then I’d have to kill you.”
A few hours before going onstage to play Lyndon B. Johnson in “The Great Society,” the actor is in his dressing room at the Vivian Beaumont theater, coolly deflecting speculation about who will be the “blood sacrifice” — the person to take the fall for a corporate scandal threatening to bring down a media dynasty — in the much-anticipated season finale of “Succession,” which is set to air two days after our interview. It’s exactly the sort of thing his character in the HBO drama, a Rupert Murdoch-esque conservative mogul named Logan Roy, would say — but might actually mean. The bluntly profane patriarch — last seen smirking elusively in the closing shot of the season — has made the 73-year-old character actor into an unlikely social media darling, the subject of myriad GIFs and memes. Cox, who is active in the Scottish National Party and describes himself as a socialist, doesn’t have much in common with Logan politically, but the character has been shaped in his image: Both men are from working-class Catholic families in Dundee, Scotland, and lost parents at a young age.
Days after wrapping production of “Succession” in Croatia, Cox returned to New York to begin three weeks of breakneck preparation for “The Great Society,” trading his gentle burr for a Texan drawl he practices by listening to LBJ’s White House tapes. A follow-up to the Tony-winning “All the Way,” which starred Bryan Cranston as Johnson, Robert Schenkkan’s nearly three-hour play charts the president’s final years in office as the war in Vietnam escalates and undermines his progressive domestic legacy. Next month, Cox will appear in the film “The Etruscan Smile” as a cantankerous, terminally ill Scotsman who bonds with his infant grandson. To read more, click here.